The city lies on Lake Lugano, surrounded by the mountains of the Lugano Prealps. Its warm summers and the fact that in recent years it has attracted an ever growing number of celebrities, entertainers and successful athletes have given it the nickname of the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”.
Both Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains provide a wide variety of outdoor activities. The area surrounding Lugano is home to over 300 kilometres (190 mi) of mountain biking trails, the largest net of trails in Switzerland. Trade, tourism and banking are the most important fields of local economy.
Gandria is both a quarter of the city of Lugano in the Swiss canton of Ticino, and a village, on the northern shore of Lake Lugano, which forms the core of that quarter. Until 2004, the quarter of Gandria was an independent municipality, joining with Lugano in that year.
The historically protected center of the village of Gandria, which is also not accessible by car, attracts visitors from all over the world. Whilst roads now reach the outskirts of the village, many of these visitors arrive by boat services on the lake. It is also possible to walk from Lugano to Gandria to Lugano via a footpath, now branded the Olive path, which passes plantations of olive trees and offers views of the Lake of Lugano.
Today, Gandria is a mix of tradition and modernity. Many of 200 inhabitants who live there year round are from families that go back for many generations. Others have arrived from various cantons of Switzerland as well as countries as diverse as Colombia, Germany, Haiti, Italy, Nicaragua,Palestine and the United States. Most people work in the nearby financial center of Lugano, although there is a tradition of architects, musicians, painters, ceramic makers and other artists in the village.